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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

From borders to ecotones - Private-public co-management of urban woodland edges bordering private housing

Fors, Hanna; Nielsen, Anders Busse; van den Bosch, Cecil C. Konijnendijk; Jansson, Marit


This paper conceptualises and evaluates so-called co-management zones as an approach for user participation in urban forestry, specifically in the management of public woodland edges bordering residential areas. Co-management zones can metaphorically be viewed as 'ecotone-like' spaces, i.e. zones where overlapping interest - in this case residents' and municipal authorities' - can be used to create richness and meetings rather than boundaries. Building on the perspectives of ecotone thinking and governance arrangements, co-management zones in the Danish residential area of Sletten in Holstebro were evaluated. The presented case study combined interviews with residents and interviews with three key green space professionals who had led the planning, design, establishment and management of the woodland and the implementation of co-management. The resident participation in the co-management zone was also assessed and photo documented in a field survey, categorising individual households according to type and degree of physical signs of participation. Findings illustrate the potential of co-management zones to initiate collaboration between residents and public woodland managers in creating recreationally valuable and varied meetings between private gardens and urban woodlands. Challenges with establishing co-management zones were also highlighted, especially the need for clear guidelines and continuous communication between residents and the municipality. Perspectives and implications related to residents, managers and green space quality are discussed.


Green space governance; Public involvement; Urban forestry; User participation; Urban-woodland interface

Published in

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
2018, Volume: 30, pages: 46-55